Phl extends travel ban; allows aliens with travel exemption

Marje Pelayo   •   April 19, 2021   •   418

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has announced that foreigners who were given entry documents prior to the implementation of last month’s travel ban may now enter the country.

In an advisory issued by the Bureau, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said foreigners with entry exemption documents issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) before March 22 are now allowed to enter the country amid an extension of travel restrictions to April 30.

The revised rule is pursuant to the latest resolution of the Inter-Agency Task on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Morente said other foreign nationals are still prohibited from entering the Philippines and that the Balikbayan privilege for former Filipinos remains suspended.

“The foreign parents, spouse, and children of Filipinos may enter the country, provided they are traveling with the Filipino principal, and have a valid entry visa,” he said on Sunday (April 18).

Based on the IATF’s policy, aliens with valid entry visas currently allowed to enter the country include:

* Diplomats and members of international organizations with valid 9(e) or 47(a) (2) visas;
* Those involved in medical repatriation endorsed by the DFA and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA); and
* Seafarers with 9(c) visa for crew change; and (4) those with emergency, humanitarian and analogous cases approved by the chairperson of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) or his authorized representative.

Morente said travel exemptions are without prejudice to the mandate of the BI to conduct strict screening and formalities on all arriving foreigners.

Immigration Bureau to impose travel ban expansion in 4 countries starting May 7

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has expanded its restriction to travelers from four countries beginning May 7.

In an advisory, the Immigration Bureau announced that they will be implementing restrictions for travelers coming from Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh starting May 7.

However, passengers who will only be transiting through India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, will be allowed to enter. They will only be required to undergo a strict 14-day quarantine.

“Those who would be coming prior to May 7 will be allowed, but will be referred to the appropriate agencies to undergo a strict absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine and RT-PCR testing,” said BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.

Meanwhile, BI Port Operations Division (POD) Chief Atty. Carlos Capulong clarified that the spouse and children of Filipinos or former Filipinos who are traveling to the Philippines without the Filipino or former Filipino spouse or parent may only be allowed upon the presentation of a valid 9(a) visa and an exemption document from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“This is in compliance with the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases, temporarily banning the entry of aliens holding temporary visitors’ visas,” said Capulong. -AAC

PH temporarily bans entry of travelers from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Robie de Guzman   •   May 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has expanded its entry ban on travelers to include those coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka amid the surge in COVID-19 cases.

In a memorandum dated May 5, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the travel ban will be effective from May 7 to 14.

Medialdea said passengers coming from or who have been to the said countries within 14 days immediately preceding arrival in the Philippines shall be prohibited from entering the country.

Passengers coming from or who have been to the same countries within 14 days and are arriving before the travel ban will be allowed entry but shall undergo facility-based quarantine for 14 days notwithstanding a negative RT-PCR test result, he added.

The memorandum also stated that all passengers, whether Filipinos or foreigners, merely transiting through these countries shall not be subjected to the procedures as long as they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry into these countries by their immigration authorities.

They also do not need to complete the 14-day quarantine period once they arrive in the Philippines, provided that they comply with existing testing and quarantine protocols of the national government.

The Philippine government earlier banned travelers from India from April 29 to May 14 due to the surge in COVID-19 cases there. The coronavirus variant first reported in India has not yet been detected in the Philippines.

BI gears up to impose travel ban on India; clarifies ban not ‘nationality-specific’

Marje Pelayo   •   April 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is gearing up in preparation for the imposed restrictions for travelers coming from India.

The resolution issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) bars the entry of travelers coming from India or those with a travel history to India within the last 14 days preceding arrival beginning April 29 until May 14.

“We will implement this measure seen by the IATF as our response to the emerging situation in India,” said Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente.

The said ban has been imposed following the detection and spread of a new covid variant first detected in India.

“The IATF deems that this proactive restriction must be put in place to slow down the surge in COVID-19 cases, stop further spread of variants, and allow the health system to prepare, essentially protecting more lives,” he added.

Port Operations Division Chief Atty. Carlos Capulong clarified, however, that the travel ban is not specific to any nationality but it applies to any traveler coming from the region.

“We are conducting 100% passport inspection to determine the travel history of an arriving person,” he said.

“If we see that the traveler has been to India within the last 14 days, then he will be excluded and boarded on the next available flight back to his port of origin,” he added.

Capulong added that they are not expecting incoming passengers from India as the IATF resolution clearly stated that airlines are directed not to allow the boarding of passengers pursuant to travel restrictions.

Passengers already in transit who will arrive before April 29 may be allowed, but will be referred to the appropriate agencies for stricter quarantine and testing protocols, to be subjected to an absolute facility-based 14-day quarantine period, the official concluded.

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